Talking about the less-than-ideal weather for the Ponies’ spring sports is starting to sound redundant in this column, but here we go again.
The Big Red teams have enjoyed a terrific spring when you check the success meter.
I’m so impressed with the results in what I think is the hardest hit activity — track and field. We are not just talking about the Big Red, but the entire state. When you consider the amount of practice time indoors and the cancellation of meets you can see my point.
Prior to the Section 4AA boys’ and girls’ meets at SAHS, I perused the final state honor roll and found several locals. Starting with the 1,600 was fabulous freshman Eli Krahn listed numero uno in 4:14.76 and third was three-sport ace and state cross country champ Wayde Hall in 4:16.32. Eric Colvin leads in the 3,200 in 9:05.52 and Krahn has clocked 9:08.64 for third. Sean Bjork has the fifth best time of 1:56.15 in the 800 meters.
Connor O’Neill has cleared 15 feet for the second-best effort in the pole vault. Mitch Valli of Buffalo has cleared 15-7 in an event that I thought would be hurting the most due to the whims of Mother Nature. Nate Bird is listed third with a 160-9 discus toss.
Thanks to them and others, coach Scott Christensen’s thinclads pulverized the Section 4AA competition with 177 points, followed by White Bear Lake with 145.5 and Roseville (127) leading the 15-team field.
Using the home track to their advantage, the Ponies started things off by going 1-2-4 in the 3,200 with Colvin winning in 9:03.86, Hall second in 9:06.71 and Krahn fourth in 9:11.50 while qualifying for state on standard. Bjork did his thing while taking the 800 in 1:54.64.
Colvin was a double winner when he took honors in the 1,600 in 4:15.69 with Krahn third (4:16.96) and Hall fifth (4:18.32) as the top five all qualified for state by standard, an indication of the quality of this year’s stable of distance runners.
Others going to state at Hamline University this weekend are Bird, who won the discus with his best throw of the year at 163-5, Kevin Meads, who was second in the 110 high hurdles (15.75) and O’Neill after placing second in the pole vault.
The good guys also won the 4×800 relay in 8:10.09 with Bailey Hesse-Withbroe, Tayler Aarness, Luke Richie and Bjork passing the baton.
Look for a down-to-the-wire state meet with Wayzata, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, White Bear Lake, Stillwater and the school with the best sprinter slugging it out.
Coach Dawn Podolske’s girls also won the Section 4AA with 138.5 points, followed by White Bear Lake and East Ridge tying for second at 110.25 leading the pack.
The Ponies had victories in three relay events and 1-2 sweeps in the 300 hurdles and triple jump.
Shelby Litchy (45.93) won the 300 hurdles with freshman Cecelia Peterson (46.12) next and Brooke Hunter placing second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.8. Skyler Adkins got the gold (35-7) and Rachel Amos the silver (35-5) in the triple jump.
Stillwater was a stunner by winning the triple crown in relays with Hunter, Litchy, Fiona Montie and Natalie Phippen winning the 4×200 in 1:45.8 and Phippen and Montie joining Peterson and Maria Morley to claim the 4×400 title in 4:01.37. The 4×800 fell to the Big Red with Montie, Larissa Colvin, Morley and Hannah Anderson winning in 9:29.22.
The Ponies’ Dayshia Coleman (38- 1/2) was second to the Bears’ Shayla Munson (38-7 3/4).
Go Big Red — see ya there!
Today’s Sports Trivia
Name the college cage team that won the NCAA and NIT tournaments in the same year?
In the huddle
In the final lacrosse stats recorded, we found that Stillwater’s Dana Almquist led the Twin Cities area in scoring with 98 points (75 goals, 23 assists) during the regular season for girls. Kate Sheely scored 37 points (31 goals, 6 assists). Sam Sagissor finished second with 67 points (47 goals, 20 assists) among the boys in the metro area. I believe that there might be some schools outstate now playing the sport…. Sammy Sicard is ranked highly in the state with a 72.4 scoring average in boys golf. He will be joined at next week’s state meet by teammate Evan Anderson…. The SAHS music department has turned out another top notch singer in addition to standout Jack Swanson. I’m talking about Clark Weyrauch, who won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in North Dakota
while attending graduate school. Weyrauch will perform with the Valley Chamber Chorale next season, according to VCC artistic director Carol Carver…. Former Ponies swimming ace Vince Radecke was sworn in recently at an Air Force ROTC ceremony at the University of Minnesota. Radecke, who swims for the Gophers, was awarded a full retroactive scholarship. He is studying Systems Engineering. This proves once again that taking ROTC in college is a good move…. I’ll bet that everybody also feels good about former Ponies and current St. John’s swimmer Paul Knaak receiving a Fullbright Scholarship. That’s quite an accomplishment…. It’s no surprise that two-time state champion Celia Kuenster of Cretin-Derham Hall is leading the state’s girls golfers with a 71.5 scoring average…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia: CCNY did that trick and it’s a record that will never be broken. If you know the year please enlighten me, because I forgot it…. Former Ponies boys’ hockey coach Phil Housley, who coached the U.S. Men’s Junior Team and served as assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s Team, will receive the Distinguished Service Award from USA Hockey…. You could fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside the Mall of America and the MOA is also big enough to hold 32 Boeing 747s…. The defending state champion Ponies softball team is playing Prior Lake at Caswell Park in North Mankato as I finish this week’s column. Go Big Red!…. Together we build character, courage and loyalty…. finis
Today’s rumination #621
The trouble with discretion is that it usually comes too late to do any good.
• • • •
George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org